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The Internet

A Concise Guide to the Major Internet Bodies 100

alex simonelis submitted a good summary of the major internet bodies. If you hunger to know the difference between ICANN, IETF, ISOC and the rest of the alphabet soup of the governing bodies that make our beloved internet possible, this is a great place to look. It covers 10 major organizations.
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A Concise Guide to the Major Internet Bodies

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  • by A nonymous Coward ( 7548 ) * on Thursday March 03, 2005 @04:01PM (#11837191)
    Or for that matter.

    Who is this guy kidding? The major Internet bodies my eye!
  • ahh (Score:4, Funny)

    by nomadic ( 141991 ) <> on Thursday March 03, 2005 @04:01PM (#11837195) Homepage
    Favorite internet bodies? Oh, so many jokes coming...
  • by American AC in Paris ( 230456 ) * on Thursday March 03, 2005 @04:01PM (#11837197) Homepage
    I guess it's a start, but there are some pretty major omissions to this list. For example, they managed to overlook both Paris Hilton and Jenna Jameson.

    I don't think they can call this guide "concise" until they address these gaping holes...

  • What vs How (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fembots ( 753724 ) on Thursday March 03, 2005 @04:01PM (#11837199) Homepage
    It's nice to know what each organistion does, but is there an article about how they actually do it?

    For instance, how (pardon my ignorance) ICANN actually controls numbers and names, technically. Is there a mainframe of some sort that stores them? How does ICANN make changes?
    • Re:What vs How (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      For instance, how (pardon my ignorance) ICANN actually controls numbers and names, technically. Is there a mainframe of some sort that stores them? How does ICANN make changes?

      Well, it's all stored in DNS servers. You request a server and your browser does a DNS lookup at your primary DNS server, which is probably run by your ISP. If your primary DNS server doesn't know the correct IP, it asks a server higher up the chain (or gets your browser to ask, I can't remember which). If that server doesn't kno

      • "At the very top are the 13 root servers, run by people like VeriSign"

        The 13 Root Servers Buwahahahahaha

        I welcome our 13 Demonic Server Overlords

      • Re:What vs How (Score:3, Informative)

        by sjb21043 ( 685282 )
        DNS is part of it, it's the closest thing to the "mainframe" hypothesized by the grandparent, but the actual vehicle for the control is that they publish documents.

        The DNS really only holds the mappings betweens IP addresses and host names. There are a few other things in there, but not all of the assigned numbers, by any means.

        The IANA has responsibility for a lot of other things. Basically they get tasked in documents published by the IETF, called RFC's, to maintain registries of various assignments. Fo
      • Re:What vs How (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Zeinfeld ( 263942 ) on Thursday March 03, 2005 @05:21PM (#11838143) Homepage
        At the very top are the 13 root servers, run by people like VeriSign. If you want to make the Internet pretty useless, take out those servers (someone tried a couple of years ago).

        Someone tries every day, to be more precise there are over 1000 attacks against core DNS each day. Most of the roots are run on a basis that I regard as far too casual given the critical nature of the infrastructure.

        There are not 13 root DNS servers, there are 13 root IP addresses which is not the same thing at all. Several of the roots are anycast so there are actually multiple data centers serving them. The number of root servers is much larger than 13.

        Another pretty major omission from the list is OASIS which has roughly the same degree of influence as W3C and considerably more than the IETF.

        The premise of the list is somewhat misguided. The standards bodies themselves don't have any influence on the Internet, its the members and the software providers who have influence. The point of the standards work is to get buy in from the necessary stakeholders, not to solve problems by committee.

        Giving the choice between having my spec rejected by the IESG and having it rejected by Microsoft or the Apache group I'll choose the first. One of the big problems with the IETF is that many folk think that they are somehow 'in control'. Not on this Internet you ain't, if I don't get a chance to vote on who holds an office I don't see why I have to respect the decisions made by the office holder. I certainly don't see why I should wait two years or more for them to come to a decision.

        I helped set up W3C when the IETF web standards effort collapsed. HTML was originally proposed in the IETF and turned into a disaster. When W3C was not interested in doing the work I do I played a leading role in one of the early OASIS Web Security standards. I am currently sitting in a W3C working group where the discussion has got into some particularly arcane details of XML.

        Standards organizations are a vehicle, they are neither the driver, nor the road.

      • If the root servers were taken out temporarely I don't see that as being a major crisis. Most businesses have their own "caching" DNS servers that would work just fine. However, during the time the root servers are down you would not be able to view any new websites that just registered their domain name/IP, and who's DNS information has not propagated to the caching servers.
    • " How does ICANN make changes?"

      It doesn't. That's the problem. It's into "stability" which means "no innovation, nothing changes".

      Whenever a dictator takes over a country they say it's for reasons of "stability". Check it out, that really is what they say.

      The reason in ICANN's case is trademarks and nothing more.

  • He's a major body if ever I saw one ;)
  • by Macrobat ( 318224 ) on Thursday March 03, 2005 @04:03PM (#11837215)
    I wonder if the lawyers for the IANA ever abbreviate their titles to IANAL. And I wonder if that ever confuses the heck out of people.
    • I wonder if the lawyers for the IANA ever abbreviate their titles to IANAL.

      The first few times I saw that abbreviation, I thought it was like the "I [heart] Hucklebees" thing and my browser was dropping the heart character.

      Didn't know why people were so proud of it... figured it was something to do with goats ;-)
  • by thedogcow ( 694111 ) on Thursday March 03, 2005 @04:03PM (#11837224)
    The article only discussed the major bodies for just the one internet. What about the other internets? Is there an ICANN2, IETF2, and ISOC2?
  • Finally... (Score:4, Funny)

    by funny-jack ( 741994 ) on Thursday March 03, 2005 @04:03PM (#11837225) Homepage
    Ah, finally a story where a post about Natalie Portman will actually be on topic...

    Wait, they don't mean that kind of internet body?


    <shameless plug> []
  • ha (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Turn-X Alphonse ( 789240 ) on Thursday March 03, 2005 @04:04PM (#11837239) Journal
    We all know Google is the whole internet. It's like the libary index and filing system all in one, without it we're lost in a sea of knowledge without anything to sort it so we can find it.
    • Re:ha (Score:3, Informative)

      by TuringTest ( 533084 ) seems to be doing a good work on its own, though. Pretty impresive, according to the little time it has been working. Without Google, I could use any day.
    • True, but there are other indexes, and of course the whole concept behind hyperlinking.

      I guess the hard part is getting to a decent page to start from.
      • I should point out that I'm not insulting the other searchs before someone says it. All I'm saying is google did it best and didn't fuck us over with pop ups, larger dicks and the other crap we don't want.

        Google took the technology and advanced it, then they worked out what we wanted and added it. Now they have our support they don't suddenly pull shit on us. This is why google is "the internet" as I said. It's exactly what the internet should be, not what marketers want it to be.
  • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) * on Thursday March 03, 2005 @04:06PM (#11837254) Homepage Journal
    I'm a regular contributor to WTF, the most ubiquitous internet body.
  • by NEOtaku17 ( 679902 ) on Thursday March 03, 2005 @04:13PM (#11837334) Homepage
    ISOC Official Page [] IETF Official Page [] IESG Official Page [] IRTF Official Page [] IAB Official Page [] RFC Editor Official Page [] ICANN Official Page [] IANA Official Page [] W3C Official Page [] W3C encyclopedia article [] ICANN encyclopedia article [] IANA encyclopedia article []
  • ISOC/IETF vs ICANN (Score:5, Interesting)

    by elfuq ( 89094 ) on Thursday March 03, 2005 @04:13PM (#11837336) Homepage
    No one (and this article itself) has ever really objectively described the compromises/disputes between the old internet governance infrastructure and the increasingly corporate-dominated and somewhat authoritarian ICANN.

    ICANN is supposed to have a standards pillar. However all internet standards are really developed by the IETF, published by the RFC Editor and adopted by the community the way that they have always been. (The exception being HTML/HTTP and its derivatives - the W3C is entirely corporate)

    There's some mention here of the dispute over IANA. Back in the day, it was just Postel, and he demonstrated entire control over the root servers. But now it's really not clear who controls the root servers, allocates IP address ranges to the regional registries, and assigns other numbers. This stuff should be transparent!
    • by legirons ( 809082 )
      Go forth and edit! []
    • For the isolated question of what the split of work between IETF and ICANN *is*, see RFC 2860, "Memorandum of Understanding Concerning the Technical Work of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority".
      The bigger question of what it *should be*.... is a bigger question.....
    • by C10H14N2 ( 640033 ) on Thursday March 03, 2005 @04:55PM (#11837803)
      Postel may be gone, but IANA, ICANN and IAB still have the same address... as for transparency, there's a lovely little explanation of how-it-works here: [] for anything else, erm, if you're really so concerned, have you ASKED? []

      It seems most people love to bitch piss and moan about ICANN/IANA, but they can't pick up a damned phone or write an email (or, for that matter, type in the F@#$ing URL that is rather forthcoming about process, policies and procedures) when it's far easier to scream "conspiracy!" ...god only knows how many tinfoil hat looneys already ring the phone off the hook. Hell, IMHO, it's pretty superhuman of them to publish their address and front-office phone number in the first place...and godlike that they still get a damned thing done as a result.
      • That was informative. Thank you.

        According to the Wikipedia article on IANA, control of the root zone is technically still in the hands of the US Department of Commerce, not ICANN. Though of the 13 root servers, 4 are run by non-US organizations.

        Wasn't China complaining about this earlier this week?
        • ICANN is chartered by the US Department of Commerce. You might as well say that the plasma supply is controlled by the House of Representatives because the Red Cross is Chartered by Congress. It is the same relationship.
          • "ICANN is chartered by the US Department of Commerce. You might as well say that the plasma supply is controlled by the House of Representatives because the Red Cross is Chartered by Congress. It is the same relationship."

            Right answer wrong reason.

            The DoC, through NTIA oversees ICANN, but retains authority over the root zone. That is, DoC/NTIA must vet any changes to the root ICANN suggests. ICANN can do no more than suggest changes.

            NTIA in theory will hand over this authority to ICANN once they trust it
      • by rs79 ( 71822 )
        "It seems most people love to bitch piss and moan about ICANN/IANA, but they can't pick up a damned phone or write an email"

        If you'd actually tried this you know how non-productive this idea is. I wasted [] 10 years [] of my life [] doing [] exactly this [], only to watch a bloated and corrupt ICANN emerge in spite of everything hundreds of people did and now watch all our predictions about their future potential wrongdoings come true. I do not feel good about this.

        When the US government was handing over IANA to "the ne
  • The MPAA and RIAA! Wait did they say bodies or boobies.. too much coffeee..sorry.
  • Oh I see, yet another acronym article. OK.
  • Heh, heh.... He said "bodies"....

    Have we turned 12 yet?
  • by melted ( 227442 ) on Thursday March 03, 2005 @04:39PM (#11837591) Homepage
    My favorite guides to internet bodies are and
  • BOFH []!
  • Who cares? They're all starting to smell the same.
    • "Who cares? They're all starting to smell the same."

      Duh. That's because it's different names for the same people.

      If you google It seeks Overall Control [] you get ISOC [].

      And only ISOC. I'm sure that's just coincidence.

      But, that's the way [] it's always [] been [].

      I really had to laugh at the story about the ITU taking over control of the DNS namespace and IP allocations. Say it doesn't happen. The I* people are in charge. Say it does happen. They all move over there and they are still in charge. That's just what th
  • a href=""
  • Now if only one could figure out which heavenly "Internet Body" manages the "Trusted Root Certificate Authorities" that make SSL work...
    • "Now if only one could figure out which heavenly "Internet Body" manages the "Trusted Root Certificate Authorities"/i?

      The companies that publish the most used web browsers, that's who.

      The internet is edge-controlled, and has no central authority despite what any organization whose name begins with an "I" thinks.
  • I've always wondered who is so close to the center of the network that they don't have to pay anyone for bandwidth.

    I guess that ISPs pay bigger ISPs and so on upwards, but who, in the end, owns the bandwidth?

    More importantly, is there any way I can weasel my way into the trunk?
    • by The Cisco Kid ( 31490 ) on Friday March 04, 2005 @10:21AM (#11843734)
      Note that none of the entities discussed in the article is a major network operator - while they certainly may have their own organizational network just like any other company or organization, they dont directly operate the backbone networks. Their roles are advisory and (sort of) regulatory. To avoid any sort of appearance of favoritisim, I doubt they even get any special deals from whatever ISP they use to host their sites or connect their offices.

      There is no 'center' or 'trunk' of the Internet. Every bandwidth flow is between two endpoints. Large backbone network operators generally have peering agreements (eg I'll send traffic to you that wants to go to your addresses if you agree to do the same for me, and we'll do it over the same set of wires) and either in most cases any two organizations that consider themselves to be 'peers' figure that average traffic in both directions will be the same, so they do it on a basis of each network paying for its own costs to interconnect to the other. Sometimes if the traffic is expected to be unbalanced, there will be a cost recovery clause in the peering agreement.

      There are facilities known as 'peering points' that manage and operate various sorts of switched networks (FDDI, ATM, etc) that an organization can colocate routing equipment, and then have a shared 'connection' that they are able to use to peer with any other network operators that are located there. These are known as 'NAPs' - some were established back in the days of the NSF, some came later. These are about as close to the 'center' of the Internet as you can get, but they are not the center (nor is there a free ride to anywhere else from them)

      Note you have to have your *own* IP addresses to peer, you announce your networks via BGP and accept announcements from your peers - you are specifically NOT allowed to use any other peer's router as your 'default route' - you can only send traffic to them that has a destination of one of the networks they announce to you as theirs, and you generally can only become party to a peering agreement if the other parties think you really are their 'peer' eg that it is desirable for them to connect to you as it is to you to connect to them. This would generally be met by being a large backbone yourself, with your own connectivity it multiple (more than 3) peering points, and your own customers (such as ISP's, webhosts, businesses, etc)

      It is also possible to connect and a peering point and obtain what you think of as 'Internet service' - its called 'transit' - and its another type of agreement you can enter, that specifically *does* allow you to 'default' to the router of the org that you pay for transit. You can expect to pay market rates for transit bandwidth, although its a pretty competitive market. You would still be responsible for locating your own router onsite, interconnections with the shared fabric, and then the backhaul to your location.

      For an interesting read, see
    • There isn't a center, really. In the US there are about ~25 "Tier 1" ISPs, e.g. AT&T, C&W, MCI, Sprint, which mostly peer with each other and sell transit to smaller ISPs and end users. Tier 2 ISPs mostly buy transit from two or more Tier 1 carriers, and Tier 3 ISPs mostly buy transit from Tier 2 or Tier 1, but there are more fuzzily defined relationships between providers in colocation space (e.g. some colo spaces are run by a single carrier, mostly using their internet feeds, while others are es

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